Make or break time for Amauri at Parma

Considering the importance of the match, Amauri’s loan debut for Parma was forgettable. His new club, teetering perilously close to the relegation zone, hosted Lecce and lost 1-0 to an injury time goal. The Gialloblu desperately needed a striker in the transfer window to help their survival bid, and now they are relying on the Brazilian-born 30-year-old to get back to his best.
It’s generally been an unhappy time for Amauri at Juventus, his parent club. However, it wasn’t long ago that he was one of the most feared strikers in Serie A.
Sometimes things just don’t happen for a player at a certain club. Alberto Gilardino may not remember his Milan days too fondly, while Adriano has made no impression at Roma yet. There may be sections of Bianconeri fans singing songs about his inadequacies, but Amauri is nowhere near as bad as they would have you believe.
He had a low-key start to Italian football with brief stints at Napoli, Piacenza, Empoli and Messina but it was at Chievo where his quality started to shine.
Like the current Juve team, Chievo played a 4-4-2 system that relied on deliveries from wide areas into the box. Strikers like Amauri and teammates Simone Tiribocchi and Sergio Pellissier thrived on such service with their aerial ability. Amauri was the outstanding player in the Chievo team that finished 4th in Serie A in 2005/06.
The striker managed to score twice as Chievo tried to qualify for the Champions League the following season, but he was subsequently bought by Palermo. Amauri had earned a move to a bigger club that raised his profile – and he responded by getting even better.
Palermo had a vastly different way of playing, favouring a lone target man, with diminutive mavericks like David Di Michele given license to attack as they pleased. Replacing the prolific Luca Toni for the Sicilian club was a massive ask but Amauri stepped up to the plate, scoring eight goals in the first half of his debut season. However, a serious knee injury saw him sidelined until the summer.
The 2007/08 season was disappointing for Palermo as they finished 11th, and they became resigned to losing their star striker. Amauri scored 15 goals that year, more than the likes of Francesco Totti, Antonio Cassano or Pippo Inzaghi.
Initially his career with Juve wasn’t too bad. The team were still recovering from the Calciopoli scandal and finished second, with Amauri notching 11 goals. However, he was no longer the star man and was instead surrounded by players of equal or superior ability. Maybe herein lies his problem.
Amauri was a victim of squad rotation for the first time and found it difficult to find momentum when the club had either David Trezeguet or Alessandro Del Piero in reserve. Questions were raised about his worthiness of the black and white shirt. Top players respond to such criticism – Amauri failed.
His second season yielded a humiliating goal drought that lasted seven months. Ciro Ferrara was sacked as Juve coach and replacement Alberto Zaccheroni publicly questioned Amauri, which further dented his confidence. It hasn’t returned so far this term, even though Gigi Delneri plays a system that should benefit him.
Parma could be just the move Amauri needs. He will be comparatively out of the spotlight, which history suggests suits him better. Playing up-front alongside the wily Hernan Crespo can only help any player’s chances of succeeding, and the Gialloblu faithful will be praying he can return to the form which previously had Italians begging for him to switch nationalities.

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